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Balancing tradition and modernity in narratives surrounding contraception use among poorer women in West Bengal, India.
Unformatted Document Text:  6 poorest, and have access to the least channels of information about health and other issues. This context makes it extremely important to gather data using methods that are woman centered, as these women are already disempowered and voiceless to a great degree (Spivak, 1999). This project uses interviewee centered techniques based on feminist principles (Olesen, 1994). In particular, it uses primarily “phenomenological interviewing” which is interviewee guided investigation of lived experience (Reinharz, 1983).The interviews were conducted in an unstructured, open-ended manner that made them more like conversations than traditional interviews. As researcher, I had a broad list of topics I wanted to discuss with each woman. These included children, birth control, family (marital and premarital), gynecological issues, childbirth related issues and finances for healthcare among others. Normally, interviews started with me asking some basic information related questions. Then the woman and I would start talking about children and birth control, and beyond that point the person I was interviewing had control of the interview. Some women would talk almost exclusively about one particular topic, and only touch on the others. Sometimes a conversation that began with concerns about birth control technology would move through four or five or more topics before the woman had to leave the interview. The principal concern was to document women’s voices expressing concerns that were important in their lives. As the conversations progressed, I realized that women were expressing similar concerns (Agar, 1996). The women’s narratives, distinct and individual in themselves, strongly echoed each other in uncertainties, worries and feelings of inadequacy as

Authors: Mookerjee, Devalina.
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poorest, and have access to the least channels of information about health and other
issues.
This context makes it extremely important to gather data using methods that are
woman centered, as these women are already disempowered and voiceless to a great
degree (Spivak, 1999). This project uses interviewee centered techniques based on
feminist principles (Olesen, 1994). In particular, it uses primarily “phenomenological
interviewing” which is interviewee guided investigation of lived experience (Reinharz,
1983).The interviews were conducted in an unstructured, open-ended manner that made
them more like conversations than traditional interviews. As researcher, I had a broad list
of topics I wanted to discuss with each woman. These included children, birth control,
family (marital and premarital), gynecological issues, childbirth related issues and
finances for healthcare among others. Normally, interviews started with me asking some
basic information related questions. Then the woman and I would start talking about
children and birth control, and beyond that point the person I was interviewing had
control of the interview. Some women would talk almost exclusively about one particular
topic, and only touch on the others. Sometimes a conversation that began with concerns
about birth control technology would move through four or five or more topics before the
woman had to leave the interview. The principal concern was to document women’s
voices expressing concerns that were important in their lives.
As the conversations progressed, I realized that women were expressing similar
concerns (Agar, 1996). The women’s narratives, distinct and individual in themselves,
strongly echoed each other in uncertainties, worries and feelings of inadequacy as


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